Place:Sandy, Bedfordshire, England

Alt namesSandeiasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 30
Beestonsource: hamlet in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Urban district
Coordinates52.133°N 0.3°W
Located inBedfordshire, England
See alsoBiggleswade Hundred, Bedfordshire, Englandhundred in which it was part located
Wixamtree Hundred, Bedfordshire, Englandhundred in which it was part located
Biggleswade Rural, Bedfordshire, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1934
Central Bedfordshire District, Bedfordshire, Englandnon-metropolitan district covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Sandy is a small market town and civil parish in Bedfordshire, England. It is frequently referred to as "the high mark of Bedfordshire". It lies between Cambridge and Bedford, on the A1 road from London to Edinburgh. The area is dominated by a range of low hills known as the Sand Hills. The River Ivel runs through the town. The Anglican church is dedicated to St Swithun.

Sandy is probably best known today as the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The Society moved to the Lodge, on the outskirts of the town, in 1961. The Shuttleworth Collection, an aeronautical and automotive museum, is also nearby, around 2 miles (3 km) southwest of Sandy.

Sandy had a population of 10,887 in the UK census of 2001, increasing to 11,657 at the 2011 UK census.

Sandy was originally an ancient parish in the Wixamtree Hundred of Bedfordshire, England. It was made a civil parish in 1866 and in 1894 it became part of the Biggleswade Rural District. In 1934 it became an urban district. Since 1974 it has been in the non-metropolitan Central Bedfordshire District.


Beeston is a hamlet of about 530 acres (2.1 km2) located within the town of Sandy, and originally in the Wixamtree Hundred of the county of Bedfordshire, England. It is located about a half a mile south of Sandy, north of Biggleswade and east of Bedford. Beeston appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it shown as having a mill.

The medieval period saw the construction of the Great North Road, the post road connecting London to Edinburgh, which ran through Beeston. In the 1930s the Ministry of Transport upgraded the Great North Road to a trunk road and it became the A1 in 1923. Subsequent upgrades during the 1960s saw this section of the road become a dual carriageway which effectively split the hamlet and isolated the larger part of Beeston from Sandy with pedestrian access being limited to a footbridge. Plans are afoot to reposition the road to bypass Beeston and Sandy but no date for this work has been set.

Historically the main occupation of the residents of Beeston was market gardening, farming and straw plaiting (woman & girls) for the hat industry in Luton.

The major feature of Beeston is the 13-acre (53,000 m2) village green bounded by many of the older residences.

Research Tips

  • The website British History Online provides three chapters of the Victoria County History Series on Bedfordshire. The first covers the religious houses of the county; the second and third provides articles on the parishes of the county. The parishes are arranged within their "hundreds".
  • GENUKI main page for Bedfordshire which provides information on various topics covering the whole of the county, and also a link to a list of parishes. Under each parish there is a list of the settlements within it and brief description of each. This is a list of pre-1834 ancient or ecclesiastical parishes but there are suggestions as to how to find parishes set up since then. GENUKI provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area. There is no guarantee that the website has been kept up to date and therefore the reader should check additional sources if possible.
  • Bedfordshire family history societies are listed in GENUKI.
  • The FamilyTree Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI which may have been prepared at a later date and from more recent data. The wiki has a link to English Jurisdictions 1851. There is a list of all the parishes in existence at that date with maps indicating their boundaries. The website is very useful for finding the ecclesiastical individual parishes within large cities and towns.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time, Bedfordshire, section "Units and Statistics" leads to analyses of population and organization of the county from about 1800 through 1974. There are pages available for all civil parishes, municipal boroughs and other administrative divisions. Descriptions provided are usually based on a gazetteer of 1870-72 which often provides brief notes on the economic basis of the settlement and significant occurences through its history.
  • These two maps indicate the boundaries between parishes, etc., but for a more detailed view of a specific area try a map from this selection. The oldest series are very clear at the third magnification offered. Comparing the map details with the GENUKI details for the same area is well worthwhile.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Sandy, Bedfordshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.